Tobias Harris proving why he's worth every penny

Andrew Porter
July 29, 2020 - 10:09 am
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Tobias Harris has begun NBA bubble play—albeit scrimmage games—on fire. And it's time we put some appreciation on the guy's name. 

In three scrimmage games, despite limited minutes, Harris is averaging 17.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists on 48.7 FG% and 36.3 3P% (4-11 3FG), per Brian Seltzer. Harris dropped 28 points in Tuesday night's loss to Dallas, where he didn't play the fourth quarter. 

Harris, 28, signed a five-year, $180 million contract with Philadelphia, five months after the team acquired him from the Clippers in a trade. Naturally, with a contract that large for a player who has yet to make the all-star team, scrutiny gets ramped up. 

But we've gone way overboard on obsessing about Harris' contract and we've stopped appreciating the player he is. 

No, he's not a top-20 NBA player, but he's really, really good. Even this season, a season where Philadelphia has struggled mightily before the COVID-19 pause, Harris has averaged 19.4 points (34th in the NBA), 6.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists with a 55.7 true shooting percentage. That's extremely solid. 

And when you add in Harris' character as a teammate and a person off of the floor, this is a man that becomes extremely easy to root for as a Sixers fan. Harris has been the most vocal Sixer during this pandemic, keeping the team together and leading conversations about racial injustice. Harris also continues to mentor rookie Matisse Thybulle and their relationship is evident in Thybulle's viral vlogs

Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com wrote that Harris has set up a group messages on Instagram and organized Zoom calls with the players during the quarantine, according to his teammates. 

"I think it’s just always important to make sure our guys mentally are in the right space," Harris told reporters earlier this month, via PhillyVoice.com. "So just being a teammate, a brother — and we’re around each other for so long — so when we go into quarantine with the pandemic we had, I thought it was really important to keep us in the loop with one another, what we’re doing. I also looked at it like, if we’re being honest, we didn’t have the best chemistry through the year with everything going on. So just to use the time to kind of build on that chemistry and help us grow a little bit together through the whole pandemic."

It's easy to get hung up on Harris' gaudy contract and expect a bona fide all-star and more dominate NBA player. But to get a reliable 28-year-old leader, just now entering his prime, who can shoot and score with the best of them and is the perfect teammate alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid—on and off the floor—his contract is justified. 

He's a guy Philadelphia should be happy to call theirs.